Hello Body Pillow! (And Goodbye Husband) WEEK 18

Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board

Baby is 5 1/2 inches long — like an iPhone 6s Plus — and almost 7 ounces. She’s up to some pretty cute antics: yawning, sucking (her fingers or thumb) and hiccupping. Hiccuping!

Baby is now on a sleeping/awake cycle, and months from now, when she’s a tiny newborn and on no sleeping cycle whatsoever, you will laugh a rueful laugh at this irony. Leave it to babies, right? In boys, testes have begun to descend, and in girls, ovaries filled with eggs are forming. Baby is now growing lanugo, a thin layer of peach fuzz-like hair all over the body – basically their version of a down comforter.

Meanwhile, you’re 4 months preg! That’s almost halfway there, so wow.

As you get bigger, try to get used to sleeping on your side. This isn’t natural for everyone and can take some getting used to, but see what you can swing with the help of a pregnancy pillow or just regular ol’ pillows propped wherever you need ‘em to support your belly, back, and/or legs. Obvs stomach-lying is really no longer an option, and when you lie flat on your back, your increasingly heavy uterus can compress a major vein, leading to decreased blood to your heart. If you wake up and find yourself on your back, don’t freak out — it’s just that you want to start training your body towards positions that are better for pregnancy.

Most women have a big ultrasound between 18 and 22 weeks (AKA the 20-week anatomy scan) which is a longer, detailed exam of baby’s whole anatomy. They’ll check the four chambers of the heart and all the organs including the brain, and look at amniotic fluid levels, the location of the placenta, fetal heart rate, and will measure anything that may indicate an increased risk of a chromosomal problem. Once more for good measure: IF YOU DON’T WANT TO LEARN BABY’S SEX, TELL THE TECHNICIAN! You’ll be sent off with some great pics of your babe (sometimes in 3D, which is uh-mazing – and, honestly, also kinda creepy), and your partner should come along because it’s a fascinating appointment with lots of new things to see and learn. And a chance to feel like you’re “visiting” with your baby.

Make sure you and your partner are signed up for a birthing class and hospital tour (sometimes they’re paired together, sometimes not). Getting a chance to learn about what to expect in the hospital — from parking to checking-in to pain intervention options during labor and delivery to learning how to breathe during heavy contractions — can be empowering and will make the whole thing seem more real, in a good way. Plus being in a room full of pregnant women laying around on soft mats together and talkin’ shop is prettttty entertaining.